Ashtanga Yoga New York to reopen Sept. 21

Things are moving pretty quickly in New York.

Last I checked, after the big closing party on Monday night, Eddie and Jocelyne Stern were going to take the month of September off to rejuvenate, look for a Manhattan location and prep the Brooklyn Yoga Club for it opening in October.

Speed all that up.

On the AYNY site, they now are announcing they will reopen Sept. 21 at a new home: Bhakti Center, 25 1st Avenue. That’s a few blocks north and east of the Broome St. location, for those who don’t know New York well. (Such as I.) They promise a schedule is to come soon.

And the Brooklyn Yoga Club will be opening next week, Tuesday, Sept. 8, with a limited schedule that’ll be posted on Sunday.

If you’re on the Facebook (or, I bet, Instagram) you can find photos of the final party from Monday night.

Posted by Steve

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Film excerpt: The significance of Pattabhi Jois

The folks up in Vancouver (not this one) have put a few more excerpts from the documentary on Ashtanga practice there online, and a Sunday morning seems a good morning to pass on along:

The full YouTube channel with a couple more can be found here. The documentary will preview this coming Friday.

I also noticed this from a Wall St. Journal profile of Gaia Repossi, the artistic director of the jewelry brand Repossi:

My morning routine is: to do ashtanga yoga. It’s a practice you do by yourself at home. For little adjustments, I’ll go to Ashtanga Yoga New York or Rasa in Paris.

A little plug for the nice folks on Broome St. My experience, albeit it a small one — five days of practice this winter — was I felt I got some big adjustments, but that probably speaks more of me than her.

Posted by Steve

We have lots to report

Quick, quick hit for you.

We have lots to report on from our weekend at Ashtanga Yoga New York. Thoughts about Vedanta, about the Ashtanga practice, about ritual, about the heart.

Suffice it to say we are sneaking in an extra practice tomorrow morning, which will make getting to the airport a little rougher. But it will be worth it. AYNY is a miraculous space.

Oh, and continuing our “we are wussies from California” there is a big old cold snow storm headed this way, so who knows when we might take off.

We will report back from sunny and warm California.

Posted by Bobbie and Steve

Heading to AYNY and a 50 degree drop in temp

We are packed for our weekend workshop at Ashtanga Yoga New York, over on the far side of the U.S. Our main message to Eddie Stern and Robert Moses has been: It has been 85 degrees in LA this week.

We’ll see how we handle temps in the 30s. (I know, many of you aren’t exactly feeling for us.)

We’ll post, as possible, while there, and we should have plenty in the week we return. For now, though, it seems fitting to pass on Eddie’s news of a new Ashtanga Yoga Outreach website, which includes the Urban Yogis work as well as the jail yoga program by Robbie Norris.

Check out the new site right here. And if you’re at AYNY this weekend, feel free to say hello. We’ll be the couple colder than everyone else (and probably at least as tired).

Little shout-out thanks to the kind folks watching out house. They know who they are.

Posted by Bobbie and Steve

Eddie Stern: Ganesh is the remover of obstacles, even ones like the tax department

The New York Times has caught up to the story that seemed to have gripped New York yoga studios for a while: Whether those studios should have to collect the state’s 4.5% sales tax.

We note it because this story includes a terrific quotation from Eddie Stern, one that captures his compelling sense of humor:

“Agencies are suffering,’’ said J. Brown, the owner of Abhyasa Yoga in Brooklyn. “They think they can reinterpret statutes and apply them to yoga.’’

Mr. Brown was one of about 70 people at a meeting weeks ago in Manhattan of Yoga for New York, a statewide lobbying group. The attendees sat cross-legged, pressed their hands in front of their hearts and chanted to Ganesha.

“He is a remover of obstacles,’’ said Eddie Stern, the owner of Ashtanga Yoga New York. “Even obstacles like the Tax Department.’’

However jokingly expressed, the state’s Tax Department has indeed ceased to be an obstacle.

In April 2011, the department posted a tax bulletin listing yoga, along with Turkish baths and weight-loss centers, as an activity that was subject to a 4.5 percent sales tax. Some studio owners said that state auditors had told them they were responsible to pay back sales taxes.

But after months of discussion with yoga studio operators and others, the Tax Department posted guidance declaring that facilities in New York City offering instruction in “various yoga disciplines” were not subject to sales tax.

“We took into account that yoga is historically practiced for its spiritual and meditative benefits,” said Geoff Gloak, a spokesman for the department. Mr. Gloak acknowledged that the rules could be murky for businesses like yoga studios that have only relatively recently grown into a major industry.

Not all is 100% OK, though. There’s still an issue with the city’s building department. It involves a “physical culture establishment permit, which is required of businesses that the agency considers health clubs and that have facilities like pools, gymnasiums and showers.”

You see where the murkiness lies, right? Further upsetting things is the city’s labor department, which is questioning the status of yoga teachers: independent contractors or full-time employees?

And at the crux of it all is how the classic shoestring yoga studio, which — to toss around a few jugements — are perhaps more firmly rooted to the meditative and spiritual aspects to yoga than bigger chains, fit into the growing business side of yoga. Yes, lots of yoga studios are just scraping by, but they are part of a $6 billion a year industry.

If yoga’s a big business, well, free market rules begin to apply, right? And with them, government regulations on similar type businesses. And in that environment, the yoga studios that are better at business will be the ones to survive. (That’s true of any business, but especially a small business. Being good at business often is more important than being good at what your business is about — yoga, communications, massage, banking, social media, etc. In other words, the yogi who is really good at business probably will do better than the yogi who is a really good yoga teacher. Sad, perhaps, but true.)

And that’s why it pays to have images of Ganesh and Hanuman in your yoga studio.

Ten years on…

I have a few friends who will be going to the Ashtanga Yoga New York shala today, not to practice but to watch a screening of “Ashtanga New York.”

My understanding of the documentary is that it was intended to follow Guruji’s time spent at the shala; however, as fate would have it, the terrorist attacks of 9/11 happened during Guruji’s visit. His time in New York, and the documentary, obviously changed.

From my “critical” perspective, that probably compromised the quality of the film as a documentary about Ashtanga and Guruji. But it captured something else and provides one view on New York in the days and weeks immediately after the attacks.

This excerpt is about the “benefits” of Ashtanga. And, yes, that’s Gwyneth Paltrow.

Posted by Steve